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Murrieta School District Adopts Transgender Student Policy

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The Murrieta Valley Unified School District on Thursday night approved a policy that requires staff to notify parents if a student is transgender or gender non-conforming, becoming the second school district in the Inland Empire to do so.

The board passed the proposal 3-2 at the end of a lengthy meeting on Thursday, drawing cheers and applause from the dozens who had stayed to hear the outcome. The board approved the proposal despite comments from the district’s retained attorney at the meeting, warning members that the new policy could put them on shaky legal ground.

The proposal was submitted by Council Chairman Paul F. Diffley III and Clerk Nicolas Pardue. It included a copy of the Chino Valley Unified School District’s latest policy, which also requires staff to notify parents if their child is gender non-conforming or transgender.

For nearly three hours on Thursday, parents and students shared anecdotes — of kids they knew who were transgender, of worries about statistics on suicide rates. They held up signs that read “Protect family ties”; others wore rainbow-themed clothing. After the meeting begins, advise Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond sent a letter to the board asking for the article to be removed, similar to the request he made to Chino Valley Unified.

Proponents of the proposal argued that if students were suffering from gender dysphoria, parents were in the best position to offer guidance. Some teachers expressed discomfort with not disclosing information to tutors; others feared that renewed debate would invite state officials to encroach on local control of the council. Opponents of the policy have expressed concern for students whose only refuge may be on campus.

Although the meeting remained relatively quiet, administrator Linda Lunn reminded attendees to remain silent even if they disagreed with a speaker’s opinion.

“As a parent myself, I can’t help but think how anti-family the current state guidelines are,” said Jessica Tapia, a former high school teacher who alleged the district Jurupa Unified School had fired her for refusing to comply with gender affirmation. Strategies. “Parents are the biggest protectors,” said Tapia, who is suing the district in federal court.

“People don’t choose to be transgender; they are transgender,” Marinna De Brauwere, who had five children in the school district. “School is perhaps the one and only space for affirmation for these young transgender people.”

Murrieta Valley Unified is the latest school board in Southern California to be part of the LGBTQ+ culture war. In addition to Chino Valley, where heated debate has erupted over its new policy, the Temecula Valley Unified School Board recently rejected state-approved LGBTQ+ history lessons, describing the materials as ‘pornographic’ and ‘obscene’. . The council then approved the documents after a threat from Governor Gavin Newsom to fine the district $1.5 million.

The Diffley School Board chairman, in an interview ahead of Thursday’s meeting, spoke about what motivated him to make the proposal.

“As a parent, I want to know everything about my child’s mental health and physical health while he’s at school,” he says. “I think there should be nothing hidden because I have a fundamental right as a parent to raise my child. … If I can’t get all the information I need to have a reasonable discussion with my child, then the school isn’t doing its job.

In an emailed statement, the state’s Department of Education emphasized students’ “legally protected interest under the California Constitution in information about their gender identity.” The department’s director of communications, Maria Clayton, said: “It is essential that schools protect the well-being of students, including some of our most vulnerable students, transgender students.

A spokesperson for California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta declined to comment, instead pointing to the three-page letter Bonta wrote to Chino Valley Unified warning that his proposal could violate California anti-discrimination law, and a press release announcing the investigation into the civil rights in the district by the Bonta office.

Chino Valley Unified gained national attention in June when it proposed a set of controversial policies. The board voted to limit flags that can be displayed in classrooms, such as the flags of the United States and California. Rainbow flags, which signify support for LGBTQ+ rights, are not permitted.

Chino Valley Unified’s other proposal, which was also approved, requires staff to notify parents if a student wishes to identify as another gender, use a different name, or use pronouns that do not match their assigned gender. was assigned at birth. Staff must also notify parents if students attempt to join “gender-segregated school programs” that do not match their biological sex, including sports teams, or attempt to use gender-assigned bathrooms. of their biological sex.

The new policies prompted the Associated Chino Teachers union to file an unfair practice complaint against the district this week with the state Public Employment Relations Commission. In a press release, the union said the district did not collectively bargain with them on the new policies and that any of those policies may inappropriately limit protected union speech.

“Unfortunately, our council is making headlines for focusing on things that don’t benefit students and divide our community,” union president Brenda Walker said in a statement. “We are working to get them to reverse these harmful and divisive policies and instead join us to focus on the things our union is fighting for, like better support systems for special education students and recruitment. and the retention of quality educators for our community.

Chino’s policy mirrors a failed bill that was proposed earlier this year by Assemblyman Bill Essayli (R-Riverside). Assembly Bill 1314 would have required school districts across the state to notify parents if their child was gender non-conforming or transgender.

Earlier this week, Essayli sent a letter in Bonta questioning the legal basis of his civil rights investigation. “The department provides no statutory or judicial authority to support its position,” Essayli wrote. “Never in the history of our jurisprudence have we held that children have a right to privacy from their parents.”

“Unfortunately, our council is making headlines for focusing on things that don’t benefit students and divide our community,” union president Brenda Walker said in a statement. “We are working to get them to reverse these harmful and divisive policies and instead come together to focus on the things our union is fighting for, like better support systems for special education students and recruitment. and the retention of quality educators for our community.”

The heated debate surrounding LGBTQ+ issues has amplified the country’s political divides. In the last election cycle, the state’s GOP pushed to galvanize new conservative candidates to run for local school boards, providing training and talking points through the “Parent Revolt” program.

Chino’s policy mirrors a failed bill that was proposed earlier this year by Assemblyman Bill Essayli (R-Riverside). Assembly Bill 1314 would have required school districts across the state to notify parents if their child was gender non-conforming or transgender.

Earlier this week, Essayli sent a letter in Bonta questioning the legal basis of his civil rights investigation. “The department provides no statutory or judicial authority to support its position,” Essayli wrote. “Never in the history of our jurisprudence have we held that children have a right to privacy from their parents.”



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